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Although I'm not sure what you mean by "absolute location," there are definite references to setting in Foer's book How Soccer Explains the World. The two examples I will give here are Serbia and Scotland. These can be seen as "absolute" locations.
Foer's study of soccer begins in the location of Serbia. He says as much. In Yugoslavia, Foer describes the action of the sport as being a lot more rough and less rule-oriented. Foer gives the example of Red Star Belgrade fans— some of the most violent and fanatical supporters out there. Foer even hints that soccer contributed to civil war! Further, after the Serbian militia leader was defeated in that civil war, he made his own soccer team and used the most brutal tactics in retribution. It was only after the murder of Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic just a few years ago that reforms started targeting soccer's role in organized crime.
Another example of location in Foer's book is Scotland. Foer mentions the rivalry between Glasgow Rangers and Celtic. This was characterized by very typical Protestant vs. Catholic tensions among Scots.
In conclusion, it's important to note that the book is about soccer as an example of globalization apart from the influence of capitalism and religion.
Soccer isn't the same as Bach or Buddhism. But it is often more deeply felt than religion, and just as much a part of the community's fabric, a repository of traditions.
In short, it is a different focal point for forging culture and tradition, but a powerful one.
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